Korean J Radiol.  2019 Oct;20(10):1431-1440. 10.3348/kjr.2019.0212.

Deep Learning Algorithm for Reducing CT Slice Thickness: Effect on Reproducibility of Radiomic Features in Lung Cancer

  • 1Department of Radiology and Research Institute of Radiology, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Asan Medical Center, Seoul, Korea. sangmin.lee.md@gmail.com
  • 2Department of Convergence Medicine, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Asan Medical Center, Seoul, Korea.
  • 3VUNO Inc., Seoul, Korea.


To retrospectively assess the effect of CT slice thickness on the reproducibility of radiomic features (RFs) of lung cancer, and to investigate whether convolutional neural network (CNN)-based super-resolution (SR) algorithms can improve the reproducibility of RFs obtained from images with different slice thicknesses.
CT images with 1-, 3-, and 5-mm slice thicknesses obtained from 100 pathologically proven lung cancers between July 2017 and December 2017 were evaluated. CNN-based SR algorithms using residual learning were developed to convert thick-slice images into 1-mm slices. Lung cancers were semi-automatically segmented and a total of 702 RFs (tumor intensity, texture, and wavelet features) were extracted from 1-, 3-, and 5-mm slices, as well as the 1-mm slices generated from the 3- and 5-mm images. The stabilities of the RFs were evaluated using concordance correlation coefficients (CCCs).
The mean CCCs for the comparisons of original 1 mm vs. 3 mm, 1 mm vs. 5 mm, and 3 mm vs. 5 mm images were 0.41, 0.27, and 0.65, respectively (p < 0.001 for all comparisons). Tumor intensity features showed the best reproducibility while wavelets showed the lowest reproducibility. The majority of RFs failed to achieve reproducibility (CCC ≥ 0.85; 3.6%, 1.0%, and 21.5%, respectively). After applying the CNN-based SR algorithms, the reproducibility significantly improved in all three pairings (mean CCCs: 0.58, 0.45, and 0.72; p < 0.001 for all comparisons). The reproducible RFs also increased (36.3%, 17.4%, and 36.9%, respectively).
The reproducibility of RFs in lung cancer is significantly influenced by CT slice thickness, which can be improved by the CNN-based SR algorithms.


Computed tomography; Radiomics; Slice thickness; Deep learning

MeSH Terms

Lung Neoplasms*
Retrospective Studies
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